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World's First Completely Transparent IC 225

An anonymous reader writes "DeviceForge is reporting that researchers at Oregon State University claim to have created the worlds first 'completely transparent' ICs (integrated circuit) from inorganic compounds. From the article: 'The technology can enable extremely inexpensive electronics for use in "throw away" devices, and is expected to be used in automobile windshields, cell phones, TVs, games, and toys, among other applications, OSU said. OSU also believes that the technology might result in more efficient solar cells or improvements and LCD displays (liquid crystal displays), it said.'"
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World's First Completely Transparent IC

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  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @09:50PM (#14961417) Homepage Journal
    Sharp did this a while ago with a Z80 core. []
  • Re:wahey! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @09:52PM (#14961427) Journal
    "a good TV will last 10-20 years if not more"

    We should be so lucky. A company that produces TVs that last that long isn't maximizing its profits. My Sharp TV was bought the day of the Challenger explosion, and is on its last legs. I would have been happy if it had lasted 10 years, and would have bought another Sharp, most likely. Anecdotal, sure -- but Sharp lost a sale by making a good TV.

    Consumer electronics are engineered to last only a couple/few years past the warranty period -- keep the customer just satisfied enough, while ensuring they are still buying those TVs.

    Re: whether people consider them disposable -- well, lots of people are happy to pay $30 a month for their TV. After they've paid it off, they're quite happy to upgrade to a bigger, newer TV for $30 a month. And chances are, they'll need to within a year or two.
  • Re:wahey! (Score:5, Informative)

    by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @09:52PM (#14961428)

    You've never worked in a repair/servicing industry, have you?

    Mobile phones and TV's are extremely throw-away nowadays. Have you ever tried to have one repaired? Particularly with "name brand" TV's like Somy (typo intended) the cost of spare parts is so high (read: whole boards/modules, not single components) that it is generally cheaper to throw the product away and replace it with a cheaper up-to-date version. Common thought seems to be that spare parts prices are artificially inflated to improve new sales turnover.

    Funny as it seems, the cheaper TV's coming from Chinese manufacturers are much more repairable because (a) schematic diagrams are more available *and* cheaper, and (b) they use less proprietary components which are easier to obtain.

  • Re:Transparent? (Score:2, Informative)

    by konkani ( 761433 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @10:15PM (#14961523)
    Yes they are transparent! Check out this picture: ent-electronics-team-big.jpg []
  • by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @10:22PM (#14961542)
    That doesn't look completely transparent! What's with all the black lines up and down the chip? In this story it's all transparent (well translucent at least) so there's no black lines.
  • Re:Terminology (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kennric ( 22093 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:12PM (#14961707) Homepage
    No, it's transparent. The circuitry itself is transparent - a lot of research has gone into developing semiconductors with the correct band structure to pass most of the visible spectrum but still act as semiconductors. Translucency generally refers to materials that disperse light, rendering images blurry or unrecognisable, while transparent materials maintain the integrity of the transmitted image, even if dimmed or colored. (Your semantics may vary.)

    These circuits are indeed made from transparent (over a wide range of the visible spectrum) semiconductors, and they are indeed printed on glass. I am not involved with the research, but I know Dr. Wager, whose team developed the circuits, and I know a few of the physicists who developed the actual materials used. Very neat stuff.
  • Re:Whoa (Score:2, Informative)

    by bosabilene ( 655365 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:29PM (#14961762) Journal
    This is an old story being rehashed. The story broke at least 6 months ago. They use aluminum oxide to print the circuit boards. It can be done at near room temperatures, thus dramatically reducing the cost of making the integrated circuits. Aluminum oxide is one the cheapest materials available.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982